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Was Fremont Studios The Dream Plan For Neonopolis?

April 26, 2013 at 9:10 PM | by | Comment (1)

We've shown you behind the walls of East Fremont's Inspire Theater from Tony Hsieh and the Downtown Project. Directly across the street, another type of theater experience was being considered. Or, is. We don't know what to make of it.

Craig Sean Palacios, the architect behind Inspire and downtown's Eat restaurant and a very close-working element of the Downtown Project team, projects an aura of an enigmatic conceptualizer. His website is no less intriguing. In a list of "projects realized" he counts both Inspire and Eat. Under "current projects," we saw these renderings for the Fremont Studios, part of a dramatic imagined overhaul of Neonopolis.

You are looking at the current location of the Deuce bus stop and Heart Attack Grill. You might recall Neonopolis used to feature the Galaxy 11 movie theater before it closed in 2010. But, that was in those long ago days before downtown's revival.

Some things to note if we are to believe this is a real and "current" project. The movie posters are all at least a year old. And, none of the movies are Warner Bros. productions, so that sign up top is a visual bookmark. The two restaurants in the picture are also fictitious. But, Heart Attack Grill, which currently lives in that spot, is most certainly not. Also, Downtown Project recently funded the newly opened Fremont East Studios, a video and audio production facility located two blocks north. Did one idea inspire the other?

The other major logistic problem? This is where Krave Massive, the world’s largest gay club will be opening in June thanks to a hefty investment from Tony Hsieh. We're not entirely sure how much of Krave Massive currently looks like its original plans. We understand not all promised sections will immediately be available, but below are the plans presented to the City Council last summer. Krave is keeping three theaters from the former Galaxy 11 theater, with a combined 9,600 square feet of space and housing 590 seats. Not exactly a mega-movie theater. In comparison, the 14 Brenden Theatres and one IMAX at the Palms can fit 3,500 moviegoers. So, if this is a future concept, some major work would need to be done to reverse it back into cinema mode. And fit in Krave.

But, there's more. Also in the "future" column for Palacios is "Box Office." Someone is thinking of creating a small theater. Somewhere downtown. We can't tell if it is for live performance, as we suspect, or is a very toned down version of a movie theater.

We've reached out to Mr. Palacios in the past to no response. And, the Downtown Project is not much of fan of our kind of idle and preemptive speculation. But, the thought these two ideas are considered "current" is interesting for such a meticulous thinker as Mr. Palacios. Particularly as he does include a section for old and unused ideas. Including where he worked on the abandoned 'E' Resort, an Elvis-themed casino planned to sit across from CityCenter. We'd really like to see those plans.

Do we think either will happen? We wish they would. Seeing a movie in the new and improved downtown environment would bring another new set of visitors to the area. And, we're just excited someone is finally thinking beyond the next high-concept bar.

(Renderings: Craig Sean Palacios, Downtown Project)

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Just an FYI

The Galaxy theaters closed on May 8, 2009, not in 2010 as stated in the article.  The reason I know that so well is because I flew from Orlando Florida to see the first showing of the new Star Trek film there, along with a planned day at the relocated-from-Las-Vegas-Hilton  Star Trek Experience, which was supposed to have opened at Neonopolis on the same day.  I arrived with my advance tickets in hand to find a chain and padlock on the theater door and no Star Trek Experience, either.  

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